The wrapping paper is wadded up in recycling and the Christmas tree is on the curb—okay, okay, it will be on the curb one of the days, but for now, it’s still in my house, shedding needles all over my carpet. My point is, the holidays are over, and winter looms before me: an endless loop of chilly, slate-gray days with nary a reason for eggnog in sight. It’s always right around now that the first signs of winter blues show up. In my case, that means canceling plans with friends, staying in the whole weekend, and watching Food Network while eating my weight in cookie dough. But this year I’m on the offensive. Armed with some simple tools, I’m ready to beat back winter blahs with a few “add to cart” purchases on the Internet.
If You Fake Spring, It Will Come …
When I was in college, I had a friend who every year during winter finals would allow herself a trip to Spain without leaving her dorm room. She’d crank up the radiator, wiggle into her bathing suit, slap on some sunscreen, and eat fresh pineapple for a day. We’d catch her lounging around on a towel reading a paperback in the hall and she’d shout, “How’s the water? God, I love Spain!” The thing is, it really worked. When she returned from “Spain” the following day, she’d be mellow and relaxed and you could almost detect a faint tan. The lesson learned here is that given a few accessories, you can fake your way to a warmer climate. For me, nothing says spring quite like tulips. Their colorful bobbing heads in the garden trigger a “yippie!” in my mind. It’s not hard to pick up a little handful of them at the grocery store, but why think so small? On the Grower’s Box you can buy tulips wholesale. For a mere $196.85, you’ll have one hundred stems (at $1.96 per stem) and you can blanket your home with enough flowers to make it look like a hillside in Holland.
Out with the Old and in with the New Calendar
Another thing to brighten the winter blahs is the sense of renewal January brings. Nothing says “fresh start” more than tossing out my old 2007 calendar and tacking up a new one for 2008. I’m tossing all of last year’s appointments and commitments, cleaning the slate with a calendar that is totally unblemished and full of open white spaces. And consider this: calendars easily dress up an empty wall or tabletop without the usual expense of a print or framed poster. For $20 or less, I’ve got a little piece of art adorning my desk. The trick is to get something that isn’t just a laminated flipbook but something really elegant and handmade. Etsy has an abundance of handmade letterpress calendars that will mark my year so beautifully, I won’t be so eager to swap calendars in 2009.
A Splash of Color Without Commitment
My father, a former Navy man, told me a story that submarines sailors used to suffer long bouts of depression being enclosed inside a gray space for endless days, until the government decided to paint the insides of the submarines bright yellow, and voila, the depression lifted. I don’t know if the story is true (my dad’s love of a good yarn outweighs his love of honesty) but I love the sentiment. Color is a powerful thing, and it’s hard not to look at yellow without feeling the corners of my mouth lifting up. Now, I may not be willing to turn an entire room egg-yolk yellow because I need a pick-me-up, but here’s another solution. I can buy an inexpensive canvas at Pearl Paint, and generously brush on acrylic paint in Cardimom Yellow Primrose. This is therapeutic for two reasons: One, I get to play Picasso for a day, and trust me, next to rolling out the Play Doh, nothing is more calming. Two, I have a spot of yellow to put right over my bed, and I swear, I catch myself singing, “Let the Sunshine In.”
Related Story: Holiday Travel: A Click Fix
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